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Bishops Palace Hatfield

Hob Uid: 364603
Location :
Hertfordshire
Welwyn Hatfield
Hatfield
Grid Ref : TL2358108462
Summary : Bishop's Palace Hatfield is a Medieval bishop's palace from late 15th century, and used by the crown from 1538-1607. The only surviving features include the gatehouse and west range. It was the originally the palace of the bishops of Ely and had been rebuilt in the newly fashionable brick in about 1480 by Bishop Morton. King Henry VIII used the palace extensively before finally formally acquiring it by exchange in 1538. Some works were undertaken, but it seems likely that no major alterations were needed. In 1549 it was granted to the then princess Elizabeth (the future Queen) and it became her main residence from 1555 until the death of Queen Mary in 1558. In 1607 the Hatfield was exchanged for another estate by James I and passed to the Cecil family. Sir Robert Cecil had much of the old house demolished and built a new mansion, Hatfield House on a different site. Some of the older buildings were retained as stabling.
More information : (TL 2357 0846) Palace (NR).(1)

Originally a Bishop's residence, the Bishops of Ely had a house at Hatfield, which they frequently visited and at which they often entertained royal visitors (King John, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III). It was rebuilt by Bishop Morton in about 1480. In 1514, probably on the nomination of Henry VIII, Hannibal Zenzano, the king's farrier, was made lessee of the manor and keeper of the parks. From this time the king seems to have made use of Hatfield House almost as if it belonged to him, although it did not legally come into his possession until 1538. Princess Mary resided at Hatfield with a household suitable to her state as Princess Royal until Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon in 1533. In December of that year her household was diminished, and the infant Princess Elizabeth was also conveyed there. A little later Mary's household was entirely dissolved and she remained at Hatfield as a mere lady-inwaiting to the infant Elizabeth. In March 1534, when the young Elizabeth was removed from Hatfield to Hunsdon, Mary refused to accompany her, but was compelled to make court to Elizabeth.
In 1538 the manor of Hatfield was conveyed by Thomas Bishop of Ely to Henry VIII, in exchange for the site of the dissolved monastery of Ickleton, the possessions of the dissolved priory of Swaffham Bulbeck, a single parish, and various lands in Essex.
The Princess Elizabeth and the young Edward seem to have passed much of their childhood at Hatfield, and Elizabeth, although removed from there at the death of her father, had returned there by 1548, when she received the ambitious attentions of Thomas Seymour Lord Sudeley.
In 1549 Edward VI granted the manor of Hatfield to John Earl of Warwick but Princess Elizabeth had become so attached to it that she petitioned against its loss, in consequence of which the Earl of Warwick returned it to the king in 1550, and with the consent of the Privy Council it was conveyed to Elizabeth herself, who gave other lands in exchange to the Earl of Warwick. At the accession of Queen Mary Elizabeth left Hatfield, but in 1555 was permitted to return there under the supervision of Sir Thomas Pope. She was there in November 1558 when the news of Mary's death was brought to her. Hatfield was still maintained as a royal palace and Elizabeth paid frequent visits to it. After her death in 1603 it was granted in dower to Anne of Denmark, the queen of James I.
In 1607 James I exchanged it for "Theobalds". Robert Cecil the new owner built a modern version of "Hatfield House" using materials from the Palace. All that remains of the Palace is the W range, retained as stables, and a gatehouse to the NW, both of c 1480. They are important examples of medieval building. (2-4)

As described, and outstanding. The gatehouse is at TL 23540848. See guide to Hatfield House (TL 20 NW 6). (5)

The Palace, Grade I. (6)

Acquired by Henry VIII from the Bishop of Ely in 1538, although Henry had made frequent use of the palace for 20 years before then. Details of royal expenditure on the palace from the 1540s to 1590s. Described as in 'great decaye' prior to further work in 1594. (7)

Register of Park and Gardens, Hertfordshire, List entry Number: 1000343 (8)

Additional source mentioning Hatfield as a Tudor royal residence. (9)

Not to be confused with Hatfield House (which was built by Robert Cecil 1607-1612) – see Pastscape record 364618. At the end of the 15th century (about 1497) Cardinal Morton, Bishop of Ely, (famous councillor to Henry VII) built himself a palace at what came to be called Bishops Hatfield. It was a red brick structure four-sided enclosing a courtyard, with a Great Hall, Solar Room, withdrawing rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and butteries. Only one wing of this remains standing, as the rest was pulled down to accommodate the new Hatfield House. The Reformation saw the Palace along with all other Church owned property sequestered to the Crown. For the next 70 years it was used by the King as a royal residence. Princess Mary lived there during the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. After her execution her daughter Elizabeth is described as living there and she was then joined by her younger brother Edward. Elizabeth continued to live there during Edward’s reign and it was at this time the rumour of a love affair with Thomas Seymour, the scandal resulted in Elizabeth’s vehement eloquent protest to her innocence and Seymour’s execution. At a later date Elizabeth was at the Palace during her sister Mary’s reign and is alleged to have heard the news of her death whilst under an Oak tree in the nearby forest. Elizabeth stayed at the Palace occasionally after becoming Queen and it was only after her death is was passed to the wife of King James I. The King wanted Theobalds, a great house in Hertfordshire, after visiting it. It was owned by Robert Cecil, an arrangement was made that it was swapped for Hatfield. Theobalds was transferred to the Crown and Robert Cecil became the owner of Bishops Palace at Hatfield.
The Palace by this time was outdated and Robert Cecil set about building a new House. He pulled down 3 of the sides of the old Palace, and used the bricks to build a new mansion. Building began in 1607 and was ready for occupation in 1612.
The Old Palace was then used as stables and more recently the restaurant. (10)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1960
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Source Number : 2
Source : Hertfordshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 106-7
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Source Number : 3
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 58-62
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Hertford, volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 94-95
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JRL 04-JUL-75
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Hatfield Rural District, February 1960
Page(s) : 03-Apr
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Source Number : 7
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 149-50
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Source Number : 8
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Hertfordshire, Hatfield House 11-Jun-1987
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) : Part 21
Source Number : 9
Source : The royal palaces of Tudor England : architecture and court life
Source details :
Page(s) : 50, 80
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Source Number : 10
Source : Hatfield House
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt in 1480
Monument End Date : 1480
Monument Start Date : 1480
Monument Type : Bishops Palace, Gatehouse, Great Hall, Kitchen
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1538-1607
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1538
Monument Type : Royal Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1538-1607
Monument End Date : 1607
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Royal Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : great hall, kitchen converted to stables
Monument End Date : 1612
Monument Start Date : 1607
Monument Type : Stable
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 158407
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 77580
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1348152
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 20 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 364618
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 20 NW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-07-04
End Date : 1975-07-04